Monday, November 05, 2007

Today's Reading Assignments

...from the First, Bill Roggio notes that Pakistan's tenuous political and military situation will provide an opening for the Taliban and Al Qaida to consolidate their gains in the country's northwest territories. The only silver lining in that dark cloud comes from another Standard contributor, Christian Lowe. He writes that many of the terrorists emerging from those safe havens are meeting a quick demise on the Afghan side of the border.

Ignoring traditional insurgent tactics, Taliban and Al Qaida fighters are using larger formations --without the necessary fire support-- to engage U.S. and coalition troops. The results are predictable: large numbers of dead terrorist; more than 3,500 killed this year alone. Many of those mowed down by allied forces are foreign-born fighters. But, as one U.S. officer explains, their influx is actually a sign of weakness, not an indicator of an insurgency that's taking root among local populations:

In this type of war, when you mass against forces like us . . . without firepower, we're able to destroy them quite easily and we've shown that over the last six to seven months," said Col. Thomas McGrath, the American commander in charge of training Afghan security forces near Kandahar. "They're bringing in cohorts of young men who really don't know any better and it's been a colossal failure for them."

Mr. Lowe characterizes this "new" breed of fighter as Taliban bench-warmers, and it's an apt description. But, in light of on-going events in Pakistan--we can only wonder how long it will take for the quality of those fighters to improve.

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